By The Bull is grunge inspired, but their sound is punctuated by extremely musical bass parts and jagged, passionate guitar playing. Led by Nick Brewer, who has gigged tirelessly as a jazz pianist and toured nationwide with rock bands, his new project breathes his personality through solid rock structures and more intelligence than your average verse chorus verse approach.
“The Pulley” is a great opener, as guitars sprawl outward, strengthened and propelled by a meaty bass. Then, “Serpents” drives you further into the bands’ comfort zone before a more reserved, and perfectly calculated lull is provided by “Golden Rule” – an apt counterpoint to the records’ solid and emphatic tone. It’s also cathartic lyrically, opening up to the light of ditching dead weight. Vocals on “The Push” remind one of The Flaming Lips while reverberating along a much more intimate fault line, and showing the bands’ versatile musicality. “Pigs” injects the punk into the sound, and speeds up ones heart rate while feeling stripped down in every way that could be taken as a compliment. (One might me reminded of Soundgarden’s “Ty Cobb”). You don’t need much more than driving guitars, a bass player and drummer, who are locked in, and complimentary. This track also ups the ante with a guitar solo you’d never hear on a punk record, further illustrating the sensibilities inherent in By The Bull’s modern, yet vintage sound.
“The Sun the Ghost and Everything” is arguably the fullest track on the record, as it peels off at breakneck speeds, and then drops back down into a grimy yet digestable blend; and is probably what the band should play for anyone curious as to what they’re all about. Go to their Bandcamp page and take back all those nasty things you said about rock music these days; By The Bull is sure to skewer ears. For a band just beginning, the upswing seems inevitable.